An attachment-based model of compulsive hoarding
Compulsive hoarding refers to the excessive acquisition of possessions, difficulty in discarding items, and the accumulation of clutter (Frost & Hartl, 1996). Since hoarding involves strong emotional attachments to objects, hoarding may be conceptualized as an attachment-related disorder. According to attachment theory (Bowlby, 1969), insecure attachment to others can occur when close relationships do not provide a sense of safety and security. This study explores a mediational model, whereby insecure attachment influences hoarding through the joint effect of relationship satisfaction, attachment to objects, and saving cognitions. A large community sample of adults (N = 1341) completed online measures. Assessment of the mediational model used an ordinary least-squares analytic framework to estimate direct and indirect effects, and bootstrap methods to obtain confidence intervals. Results provide support for the proposed mediational model. Similarities and differences between insecure attachment styles are discussed, as well as clinical implications for the treatment of hoarding.